The KISS frontman, star of 4th and Loud and co-owner of the LA KISS Paul Stanley discusses the parallels between managing a rock band and managing a football team and the time he got tackled by an LA KISS player.
Q: You and Gene Simmons have said that you’re really trying to shake things up in the AFL. Do you feel like sports in general could learn from what you guys are doing to draw in fans?
A: What we’re really trying to do is to turn a sporting event into something much larger, something that you can bring your kids to, into something that someone who has no real knowledge of sports can come to and have a great time at. We have amazing dancers… We also have BMX bike riders, we have pyro, we have a live band. It’s an event to be there. Clearly just the concept resonated with people because initially we sold 8,000 season tickets, so people were waiting and clamoring for something like this.
Q: You and Gene are pretty hands-on with the team. What skills from being in KISS are you bringing to running the team? Has there been a learning curve?
A: I think whenever you set out to do something, you have to believe that you can do it, and if you’re smart, you surround yourself with people who can help you accomplish it. A great president is dependent upon a great cabinet. And for us to believe that we had the necessary skills to run a team would have been naive at best. So, between Brett Bouchy, who’s been involved in AFL football for decades, and Schuyler Hoversten who worked with the Dodgers among others, and Bob McMillen who’s been coach of the year in the AFL and on from there, we made sure we brought in the best people possible.
Q: You personally designed the uniforms. What goes into that?
A: I designed the uniforms, I designed the dancers’ outfit, I designed the LA KISS logo… The football uniform wasn’t going to have spikes on it. But within the context of what it is, it’s the coolest uniform around and that’s what this is all about. We want to be cool. If the AFL is the black sheep of football, we’re the black sheep of the AFL.
Q: There are a lot of KISS fans coming to the games. Did you expect that? How are the football fans reacting to the KISS fans and vice versa?
A: Everybody is having a great time. Here we are in Anaheim; here we are in LA. We’re in the second largest media market for sports and there was no team, so everybody is having a ball. People who come to see arena football for the first time are blown away by how in-your-face it is. When you go to most football games, you might as well be watching it on a TV monitor because you’re not really a part of it. And with arena football, with LA KISS, you can end up with a player in your lap. I’ve had a collision with a player who came over the wall. It’s really like being in the middle of a video game.
Q: How did you react when the player came over the wall?
A: Well, I said, “Ouch!” That was one of the words that you can print. So many of the other ones you couldn’t.
Q: You’re obviously a master at pleasing crowds. To what degree do you get involved in talking to your players and entertainers about showmanship? Do you ever give them tips?
A: The day that they tell me what chord to play is the day that I tell them how to run a play. With showmanship, you either exude that or you don’t. I look at somebody like Beau Bell; I call him the “million dollar smile.” This guy is just a stellar player, but he has incredible charisma too. You can’t teach somebody charisma.
Q: To what degree are you and Gene the stars of the show?
A: We are key to this TV series, but as it plays out, we will become less important because the personalities of some of those people, whether it be Bob McMillen, or Schuyler, who looks like he just dropped out of a page in GQ — it’s a terrific story.
Q: What position would you play if you were an Arena League player?
A: Left out. [Laughs] You know, everybody has to figure out what they’re best at. When I was 12 years old, I was playing basically sandlot football and was used to being a very strong kid that never got hurt, and the day that I got tackled, flew through the air, landed on my stomach and got the wind knocked out of me was the day that I decided that the guitar was much better for me. Everybody needs to know and weigh their assets and their limitations.
Q: You guys are currently on the road with Def Leppard. What’s the secret to juggling being on tour, managing KISS, owning the team, and everything else you’re involved in? Are you a clone, maybe?
A: That’s the secret. I’m the Stanley quintuplets. I love what I do… I have a tremendous amount of pride in what I do and a tremendous amount of obligation and a commitment to the people who put me in that position.
Q: You’ll be in Toronto the night of the premiere, do you and Gene have plans to try sneak away and watch the show?
A: I lived the show. With my book, it was a number two bestseller, and people said to me, “Was it cathartic writing the book?” and I said, “No, it was cathartic living the life.” I’ve seen the show; I’d like to see it again, but I lived it. I know how it ends!
Don’t miss 4th and Loud Tuesdays at 9/8c on AMC.Read More